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Timebombed VM (Part 1):Introduction

August 11th, 2008 Leave a comment Go to comments

Thought about placing a timer bomb in a virtual machine?  If yes, you probably know it is not an easy thing to do. Yeah! Microsoft places all these timer bombs in their trial images and make them expire after 30 days or when passing beyond a certain date, but there is no documentation anywhere so you can follow to get yours going. Apparently, there is a specific group in MS, responsible for designing, activating and placing all these bombies on various VMs.

Paul Andrew and Andrew Connell showed me how to work around this by using differencing drives , exclusive features of Virtual Server and VPC. I too decided to share the experience with you. Almost a year ago, in this paper I showed you how you can use differencing drives to chain various machines together and come up with your own SharePoint dev environment, but I absolutely had no idea that I can use the same technique to come up with timebombed VMs.

Since SharePoint was RTMed, there has been always a trial (30 days) image being available for people to download and play with. These images come in full blown with all required bits installed to test drive SharePoint. They either expire after 30 days (unless you activate it using a non-VL MSDN key) or after a certain date is reached and bascially timebomb gets activated (mostly around September each year) . For example the RTM Image  which was released in late July 2007 would expire on Sep 2008. Later, Paul Andrew put this one (SP1 SlipStream Image) up there in June 2008 that would expire on Sep 2008.

There will be more FREE images coming down the pipe that pushes the expiration date out to Sep 2009.That being said,there is always an image from MS that has been timebombed. BTW, Keep an eye on this blog post for updates as they become available.

So why is this important?

If it is not an easy task to place your own timer bomb and If Microsoft has already timebombed all its trial images released to public (with all the software and tools you get for trial in those images), why can’t we just reuse this mechanism (It’s all about reusability babe! 😉 ) and build our own machines on the top of theirs while relying on their time bomb capability? How? Okay, you need to read Part 2 then.

Update(18/October/2008): A new MOSS 2007 Virtual machine has just been pushed out to the MS download site. Check out my post here.

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